JM55SC: Pop-Classic Cello Concerto

Cover Image Pop-Classic Cello Concerto
for Solo Cello and String Orchestra
Composer: David Johnstone
Instrumentation: Solo Cello & String Orchestra (Solo Cello, Violin 1 & 2, Viola, Cello, Bass)
Duration: Performance time approx. 25'
Cat. No: JM55SC
Edition / Format: 2007 A4 Score & Extractions (instrumental parts)
Price: Conductor Score + Soloist Part £26.50
Extractions (Instrumental Parts) available individually as required at £2.00 each
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for Solo Cello and String Orchestra

The Pop-Classic Cello Concerto by Johnstone is, as the sub-title of the work indicates, a work 'between two worlds', embodying a fusion of styles appropriate to the twentieth-first century. This mix of classical and popular styles is perhaps even more finely balanced than in other concertos resorting to popular music influences, which often only makes very occasional excursions into the jazz and pop fields. Although always crafted with 'classical' skill and care, in this work the more soulful British pop tradition comes rather more to the fore. Examples of occasional 'blues' and other popular influences also abound, these being especially noticeable in the first part/ movement. This might suggest that the song form, with its sense of lyricism, is equally as important as the symphonic form. At the same time, there are aspects of the work which derive from the British string orchestra tradition with influences, especially in the second part/movement, reaching as far back as Elgar. This is a work with string orchestra accompaniment, and one which does not unduly challenge the orchestra at a technical level, though the tone quality produced is always of the utmost importance. All string sections have moments where each comes to the fore, and there are occasional interjections from the orchestral section principals too. Generally speaking, the frequent 'divisi a 2' in the orchestral sections mean that it is not feasible to programme the work with small forces – a minimum of being advisable. Although not conceived as a formal concerto as such, especially in a structural sense, it does give an important 'concerto' role to the soloist, with some challenging and grandiose writing (rather in the way that Massenet did in his Concerto-Fantasy of 1897). There is a predominance of higher register writing on the A-string - as Boccherini would have done! – with the solo cellist frequently soaring above even the first violins of the orchestra. Generally, however, poetic projection is of greater importance than virtuoso technique. As both large movements/sections are of a moderate tempo (and inter-related between themselves), the overriding idea of the cadenza is to act as a contrast, both in tempo and virtuosity, to the somewhat melancholic ending of this first movement. In the cadenza, the soloist gradually adopts a kind of 'scherzo' feel, somewhat reminiscent of Prokofiev, soon arriving at an explosive section of great intervallic jumps. This is followed by some powerful high register music, before the tension gradually subsides once again. After the end of this extensive cadenza, there follows a final bridge passage from the soloist, accompanied by sustained chordal harmony from the orchestra, heralding the approach of the second movement. The total performance time is close to 25 minutes, although it should be obvious that different tempo choices will surely be taken by quite different types of cellists and these personal preferences are to be strongly welcomed.

Johnstone is described by 'Creighton's Collection' as a composer with a particular penchant for string music and lighter classical music. From that, it should be clear that his work is not intended in any way to break new ground in an 'avant-garde' sense; far from it – rather, this particular work aims to please, and even to unite the world's peoples, in a way that much of Johnstone's string orchestral music is conceived. This very approach is generally well-received in performance, and enthusiastically welcomed by radio and disc producers too. It is therefore to be hoped that this concerto might also arouse interest amongst enterprising and imaginative cellists of the present day.

Front Cover Illustration by Iván Simón

Front Cover (larger image)

Front cover

Sample page from score

Sample Pages
(same passage is shown in Piano Reduction)

Sample Page

Sample page

Library Information

Full Title: Pop-Classic Cello Concerto
"Entre dos Mundos"
Composer: David Johnstone
Instrumentation: Solo Cello and String Orchestra
Printed Parts: Conductors Score, Solo Cello part, instrumental players parts - Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello and Double Bass
Format: Soft back, Stapled (all)
Size: A4 (all)
Total Pages inc covers: 76 - Conductors score, 16 - Soloist part, 12 - all instrumental players parts
Weight: 260g -Conductors score, 50g - Soloist Part, 37g - all instrumental players parts
Our Ref: JM55SC
Publisher: Co production: Johnstone Music / Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: First edition, 2007
Origin: UK